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salem to comfort the sisters of Lazarus concerning their brother. But stop not with this view of the subject, important as it is ; make use of it for the purpose our Lord declared this glorious truth, to comfort you in the departures of your beloved Christian friends. Your re-union with them is bound
with these words of our Lord, “I am the resurrection and the life.” When he comes completely to fulfil this character, by raising from the dead the bodies of his departed friends, and re-uniting them to their happy spirits ; then will your desire be fulfilled : then, not only the brother of Martha and Mary will rise again, but “all that sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” “ Sorrow not then, as those who are without hope,” but “comfort one another with these words."
JOHN xi. 28, 29. “ And when she had so said, she went her way, and
called Mary her sister secretly ; saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.
The further we proceed in this interesting narrative, the more shall we be reminded of some highly finished painting, in which the whole design excites the admiration of the beholder, but where each touch of the pencil displays the hand of a master.
The grand subject of the history is the Lord Jesus Christ manifesting his power, his love, his tender compassion, and exceeding benignity, in coming, in the face of his enemies, to restore to life one who had been already four days in the grave: but the various incidents which occur, in connection with this miracle, are so strikingly delineated by the inspired evangelist, that almost each verse has its own peculiar excellence : an excel. lence which invites us to pause with delightful satisfaction, whilst we receive some instructive lesson calculated to inform our minds, or some comforting promise tending to animate our spirits and refresh our hearts.
On the last Sabbath we heard our Lord's promise to Martha, when suffering under her afflictive bereavement, “Thy brother shall rise again ;” and this promise confirmed by the memorable declaration, “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live ; and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die.” These words, brought by divine power to the heart of Martha, at once confirmed her faith :--so much so, that in answer to our Lord's question, “Believest thou this ?" she said, “ Yea, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, who should come into the world.”
Having made this good confession ; or, as my text declares, “ When she had so said,
she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly."
Here a very amiable trait in her character appears. She would not enjoy her privilege alone ; but when her faith was strengthened by her Lord, her desire was, that her sister should receive the same benefit. The world quite mistake the Christian character. They are apt to charge them with selfish and narrow-minded prejudices; but the Christian's heart is expansive as the habitable globe. His desire is that all should partake of the blessings he has freely received ; and, especially, that those with whom he is connected should share in the happiness he enjoys. Martha therefore “ called her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.” It does not appear, by the history, that Jesus actually inquired for Mary ; but Martha rightly considered that his presence spoke louder than words; that his kind and generous compassion, in coming again into Judea, was an urgent call to her sister; she therefore addressed her in these words. No sooner did Mary hear this, than she left her sitting posture, and although she was surrounded by the friends who had come to mourn with her, “she arose quickly, and came unto him :" for it was in her Lord that all her hopes centered. She therefore made no delay, but at once came unto him.
Whilst we admire these fresh traits in the character of Martha and Mary,—the disinterested spirit of Martha, leaving her Lord for a season, that her sister might partake of the high privilege with which she had been favoured ;
and the ardent love of Mary in rising at once, and leaving all to obey his call,—may we not, without unduly straining this beautiful portion of the word of God, extend our thoughts a little further ? May we not consider the words addressed by Martha to Mary as individually addressed to ourselves ? « THE MASTER IS COME, AND CALLETH FOR THEE.” For is not the Master come? Is it not an undeniable truth that the Son of God has appeared in our nature ? Has he not declared, that " where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them ?”